MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III’s political affairs adviser sees no need for any investigation into the identity of Chief Justice Renato Corona’s friends in Malacañang who supposedly alerted the magistrate of a government plan to freeze his bank accounts after the House of Representatives voted to impeach him.
Ronald Llamas denied that there was any move to go after Corona’s bank deposits – an allegation the chief justice made at his impeachment trial on Friday, attributing it to a tip from unidentified people he called “mga kumpare” in Malacañang.
“There are concerns more pressing that starting a witch hunt on the basis of fairy tales born out of desperation,” Llamas told the Philippine Daily Inquirer when asked if Malacanang should look into Corona’s moles in the administration.
Before then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed him to the Supreme Court several years back, Corona served both the administrations of former President Fidel Ramos and Arroyo in the Office of the President.
On Friday, he said he still had friends in Malacañang who told him of the alleged plan to seize his bank deposits. He said he withdrew them because they were hard-earned money.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, also a close adviser of the President, said Corona’s claims of the administration controlling Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and allegation of the government planning to freeze his bank accounts were all fabrications.
“The two allegations… are fabrications and totally irrelevant to the case,” Abad said in a text message to the Inquirer. “His three-hour monologue [on Tuesday] further exposed holes in his defense and his only recourse [on Friday] on his return to the witness stand was to vainly appeal to public sympathy.”